What Inti Raimy is and how is it celebrated in Cusco?

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What Inti Raimy is and how is it celebrated in Cusco?

The Inti Raymi or ‘Festival of the sun’ is a celebration of Inca tradition in the regions of the Andes, which is commemorated since 1944 in the city of Cusco, as a vindication of the Inca culture in addition to being a tourist attraction.

Every June 24, Cusco dresses up for the Inti Raymi festival. This date is due to the fact that it coincides with the Day of the Peasant. This day is declared a holiday in the Imperial City, because June is considered the most jubilant month in Cusco, not only for this celebration but also for Corpus Christi.

While you are traveling to Peru you may need to keep communication or a translation app. That’s why you may need to use one of our mobile phone plans for tourists to avoid high roaming costs. In order to make a nice trip here in PeruSIM. Here we show you what Inti Raymi is and how it is celebrated.

The Inti Raymi is the most important celebration of the Inca calendar and was declared by Law 27431 of 2001 as Cultural Heritage of the Nation, as well as Official Act and Main Ritual Ceremony of National Identity.

The chroniclers Guamán Poma de Ayala and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega recounted that the Inti Raymi festival was instituted by the Inca Pachacútec, in the 15th century. The Incas called the sun god Apu Punchau or Apu Inti, in whose honor and cult the fabulous feast was consecrated.

Garcilaso de la Vega narrates that the Inti Raymi was a religious-cultural tradition, which was celebrated every winter solstice, on June 21, to worship the sun or Inti in Quechua, so that it would favor the crops and guarantee food for the population.

What does its name mean?

Inti Raymi’ is a Quechua word (the language of the Incas) that means ‘Festival of the Sun’. Formerly, in Inca times, this celebration was called ‘Wawa Inti Raymi’ which means ‘Festival of the Sun Child’.

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Where is it celebrated?

The staging takes place in 3 specific sites in Cusco with great historical significance:

  • Coricancha – The Temple of the Sun or Coricancha, from the early hours of the day, begins the Festival of the Sun. This performance takes place in the so-called golden garden. It begins with the appearance of the Inca. The first rituals offer coca leaves, llamas, alpacas and more. The staging is free. You only must approach from the first hours of the day to the avenue El Sol. The staging starts at 09:00 a.m. and lasts 45 minutes on average.
  • Plaza de Armas – The historical center of Cuzco is the neuralgic point of the celebrations of the Fiesta del Sol. The Plaza de Armas is cordoned off. The Inca is carried by eight servants and performs the so-called Coca Ceremony. There is a platform for tourists who have purchased their tickets. However, most visitors have to watch the staging of the ritual standing. The ceremony begins at 11:00 a.m. and lasts approximately one hour.
  • Sacsayhuaman – The Chuquipampa esplanade in the Sacsayhuaman fortress is the main stage for the Inti Raymi performance. This place was very important during the Inca period. Today, access to the public is only allowed with an entrance ticket. There are 3 platforms or stands conditioned for tourists. The staging begins at 1:30 p.m. and lasts almost two hours.

How is it celebrated?

Today, its main characteristic is the colorful and historical representation of the ancient ceremony of the Wawa Inti Raymi. This staging is performed by hundreds of actors in typical Inca costumes. The main role is played by the high priest Willaq Umo, the Inca nobility, the Inca and his wife the coya.

There are also personifications of the Inca’s entourage, his delegates of the four suyos or corners of the Tahuantinsuyo. This staging lasts 1 day, in which the whole ‘Imperial City’ lives with joy at the Festival of the Sun.

The objective is to revalue the culture of the Inca ancestors as well as to motivate tourists to visit Peru. Every year, more than 700 artists are expected to participate on stage and more than 100 thousand people are expected to attend.

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